Security Web Digest: Biometric ID System ... and More

SafeNet and Rainbow Technologies to merge DVD backup software company to fight lawsuit Gator sues over "spyware" designation"


Newsweek columnist and Court TV founder Steven Brill is launching a venture to distribute identity cards that will allow people to speed through fast lanes at airport, office building and sports arena security checkpoints with a thumbprint scan. Brill--author of "After," a chronicle of the security and privacy challenges faced after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks--has formed Verified Identity Card Inc., which will issue the cards, perform background checks and match databases against the governments list of known terrorists. Brills partners in the venture are TransCore, which operates the electronic toll booth system in the Northeast called E-ZPass, and ChoicePoint Inc., a provider of background screening services.


SafeNet Inc., a security company with chip, board and software products for encryption and VPNs, said Thursday it will merge with Rainbow Technologies Inc. SafeNet will issue 11.1 million shares of its common stock for all Rainbow stock, worth approximately $457 million on a fully diluted basis, based on SafeNets closing price of $41.02 on Oct. 22. Rainbow has acquired several chip- and board-level security companies and developed a portfolio that included bulk-encryption and Internet Protocol Secure products.

Intellectual Property

Software company 321 Studios LLC. has submitted its response to legal action which aims to stop it selling its DVD back-up software in the UK. The company declared that it will fight the Warner Home Video lawsuit all the way, and is facing similar lawsuits from seven major film studios in the US. The lawsuits are part of the entertainment industrys bid to combat piracy. 321 Studios pointed out that other copying software is freely available online, and the company states that copied films are for home use.


In an effort to improve its corporate reputation, Gator Corp. has launched a legal offensive to divorce its name from the hated term "spyware"--and so far its strategy is paying off. In response to a libel lawsuit, an antispyware company has settled with Gator and pulled Web pages critical of the company, its practices and its software. "There is this feeling out there that they won the lawsuit, and people are starting to get scared," said one employee of a spyware-removal company, who asked not to be named. "We havent been sued, but weve heard that other companies are being sued for saying this and that, so weve changed our language" on the company Web site. The distinction between such "adware," which can report back to its creator with information about the computer users surfing habits, so as to allow for supposedly more effective ad serving, and "spyware," which similarly monitors surfing habits and serves up ads, is sometimes a hazy one, and lies at the heart of Gators libel suit.